"I don't see why I have to wear this - it's completely impractical! How would you ever, ever fix anything if you have to worry about getting a run in your stockings?"
Steve just shrugged, again. "Orissa, it's just a swimsuit with garters on it. And it's all for show. We need hot-blooded backers for finance. So a little leg, a little suggestion, then their blood heats up and loosens their checkbooks."
"But that's just your theory. I'd rather be tuning that new carburetor for the meet."
"Better you than me. And that hired model bugged out at the last minute. Besides, you're the best judge of character we've got. We don't want ringers, we want real angels."
He had me there. One look in any man's eyes and I could tell the real deal from the wannabes.
Then I saw him. That one...
"Sir, can I get you a refill?" I asked as I pointed to the smaller of the two groups. Their bottle of the good stuff that my brother was holding was fuller than his buddy's.
"Not right now. How much can you tell me about that plane?"
I caught a twinkle in his eye. This was a test.
"Standard body for the racing monoplane type. Custom engine, custom prop, and safety features you won't find anywhere else."
"What's so custom about that engine?"
"Radial outboard pistons backed by a turbine for higher speeds."
"So you have two engines there. Interesting."
"And safer if you have a bird strike."
"But you can take lower altitudes slower."
"And can utilize much shorter runways. Plus, the turbine can be clutched into the piston half for an emergency start in case of any stall."
"Meaning that you are more comfortable in a jumpsuit with a wrench than showing off your legs in a get-up like that."
"What gave me away?"
He smiled. "Other than knowing the difference between radial-outboard and turbine engines? How you walk in heels, and the number of fingers you bent back today, not to mention that wrenched shoulder."
I smiled back and tilted my head. "So you aren't interested in either of these bidding wars." Said as a matter of fact, not a question.
"No. You're the genius behind this plane, aren't you." Another statement of fact.
"Then you are actually who I came to see today." He looked around our hanger, and spied the tarps covering our tool kits. "And this is where you've built this - or just tuned it?"
"Where we assembled it."
His smile was genuine. I relaxed a little. He wasn't trying to hit on me in the slightest.
"Impressive plane. This isn't a standard monoplane racing body. You've had to make subtle changes in it. It may look the same on the surface, but..."
"And you're trying to pick my brain for secrets?"
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